Alliance Justice spokesperson Stewart Dickson has hit back at Basil McCrea after the NI21 Leader criticised the party’s stance on the current Human Trafficking Bill going through the Assembly.
Mr Dickson said he was confused by Mr McCrea making the comments almost two months after the last Assembly debate on the issue, questioning how the delayed timing fitted with the ‘fresh politics’ mantra he claimed to support.
Stewart Dickson MLA said: “I really am at a loss to understand why Mr McCrea issued this statement now. If he claims to support ‘fresh politics’, why did he wait for almost two months to make these comments.
“The Alliance Party doesn’t support legislation for the sake of it, but nor do we oppose it just for the sake of it. Rather, we work to ensure that any Bill that the Assembly is likely to pass gets properly scrutinised and, where necessary, improved.
“For Basil McCrea’s information this was exactly our approach to Lord Morrow’s Bill. Clearly the Assembly wanted the bill to face the proper scrutiny the next stage allows, which is why we agreed to do so.
“If he had listened to what the Justice Minister and I said when the Bill was debated at its first stage, he would know that we don’t support the clause dealing with prostitution (clause 6) – which Mr McCrea devotes half of his press release to. The Alliance Party would not support bad law.
“If the Bill has not been amended along the way or is wrong when it reaches final stage the Alliance Party will not support it. But until then we will work to make it the best possible legislation we can. In the meantime, Mr Mcrea would be better to let us get on with tackling human trafficking, rather than having to respond to his unfounded attacks on the Alliance Party.”